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Sustainable capsule collections: what is their true impact?

sustainable capsule collections

Big retailers like H&M, Zara and Levi’s test sustainable lines by dropping several sustainable capsule collections a year. But how eco-friendly are they?
Cover photo: © Pexels

Sustainable capsule collections

During Copenhagen Fashion Week, the GANNI x Levi’s collaboration was the talk of town. The items looked dead drop gorgeous, but even more striking was the fact that the capsule collection wasn’t for sale. Every single piece will be available for rent, with a maximum of one month.

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While GANNI’s collection is a great example of tackling fashion’s disposable nature, critics say that brand usually don’t try hard enough when developing ‘sustainable’ capsule collections. Which, in turn, are misleading consumers. Conscious, sustainable, eco-friendly, (partly) recycled, and so on: these terms are highly in demand at fashion retailers who usually can’t claim such promises with their regular collections.

Testing and validating

Yet, sustainable capsule collections could be a good start. If a company wants to test a new sustainable way of working, a capsule collection may embody the start of something greater. For example, Levi’s WaterLess collection originated from an experiment for a capsule collection. It’s one of the brand’s success stories of becoming more sustainable and cutting 95% of the water used for the production of a pair of jeans. H&M, however, often gets accused of ‘not trying hard enough’ when launching yet another conscious collection. Testing with the right intentions shows not all sustainable capsule collections serve as marketing tricks or greenwashing. Big retailers have to keep in mind they’re a role model for others in the industry. And, whether they like it or not, H&M educates its consumers about sustainable choices. When the big retailer claims to be sustainable, many people take it for granted.

After all, we need to recognize the progress many brands make. An important issue is that a label’s marketing won’t outpace its ‘sustainable’ actions. When creating sustainable improvements on a small scale in order to create company-wide progress, there’s nothing wrong with a sustainable capsule collection. Being honest and transparent about what needs to be improved will eventually be rewarded in the long run.

Also read: Sustainable influencers – how realistic are their goals?

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